Footwear industry and animal skin

A female friend of mine refuses to buy any shoe that uses animal skin. I know few other people who don’t buy any leather products. Is there any reason why Nike and the likes don’t have a non animal skin range of footwear that appeals to vegetarian and vegan customers?

I found this company that sells various vegan friendly footwear. Some of the stuff looks ok but nothing too hot.

I like this one though-

So is there any effort or even a thought given in the big companies to move away from animal skin footwear production?

well, as long as we keep eating meat, there will be leather. Leather is a byproduct.

Im thinking the vegan footwear is a niche product, which at the scale of nike wouldnt really be profitable. Smaller companies can take care of that without hurting Nike’s competitive edge or market share.

Are vegan substitutes just vynil or some other oil-derived material? The only vegan stuff im familiar with is the stella mcartney line which i think is polyurethane or something like that.

The funny thing about that is that these “Vegan” leathers, are just synthetic leather. You are replacing an animal based product that breathes and breaks in, with a petroleum based product that doesn’t.

John Fluevlog has a great “vegan” collection. I have a couple of pairs of it myself.

Funny thing is that most synthetic based shoes will be “vegan” friendly. Nike Free’s are typically mesh and exane, a non woven synthetic that feels like a cross between felt and suede. Also, most double lasted shoes are synthetic as it saves on duty costs when importing.

I think people like her are more concerned about not being part of the animal exploitation chain rather than the superior characteristics of leather :wink: What about Nylon?

Nike Free is an interesting shoe. Did you work on it Yo? I might buy one for myself for gym use.

No, I never did a Free shoe. The concept was developed with the advanced team. Great shoes, I have a bunch of them.

most skate brands have done an ‘animal friendly’ shoe at some time, theres a lot of vegan kids in that scene so it looks like the done thing to do.
i think ‘Ipath’ is into that stuff as well.
Strange they make lots of good leather shoes in india where the cow is sacred tho, wouldve thought they’d be the first ones to be anti cow leather.

I’d probably bet that their leather is in the best condition! Yeah, I know.

Hello alles

I might sound naive but I don’t really see any difference between a synthetic supply which is the majority of the active footwear industry and a vegan synthetic material.

Can you please tell me the difference between a nan ya or clarino micro fiber synthetic and a vegan material??

Being a global eater, “no meat discrination”, I still believe our industry has a decent reason to use full grain leather and natural derivative, why?

because it is simply beautiful, alive, soft, adaptive, resistant, smell-friendly, in short: Natural.

The more I am gettiing old the more I like leather shoes.

The plastic derivative synthetic materials can have a fantastic cosmetic, and provide practical design constructions.

but I truly believe that it s going to take few decades of improvements (as far as we trust worldwide oil reserve) to make the most expensive synthetics an equal competitor of an average skin.

being involved in the soccer industry, believe me, leather is unmatched, not to mention Kangaroo leather which is as far as I know the best skin ever tried in our industry…

Never tried the kobe beef skin. only the meat, a unique experience.

a good day all

there should be no problem finding shoes that do not use animal skin, many of the athletic brands and many of the cheaper casual brands use synthetic materials.

maybe someone else can chime in on the green vs vegan argument, i know alot of tanneries we work with are making strides to greatly reduce the enviromental impact of the production of leathers, such as less water and energy usage, less chemical usage, etc. it has been my understanding that the pu coated and synthetic leathers are not very ‘green’, but i really dont have much experience with synthetics.

And yes leather in the shoe industry is a by product of the meat industry, so if you were leading a vegan lifestyle then i guess that wouldn’t mean anything to you, but those who aren’t can possibly take note that it really is quite an efficient use of the animal.

In my experience working with the worldwide markets we rarely have/if ever had a problem with using cow leather, but often have issue with pig leather in the Muslim community. and some shoe production in india will actually work with both we have found.

I would love to see shoe production get more green, there is definately more room to grow there, but i dont think there is any motivation to go away from using natural leather, other than cost, but from a peta-vegan-type standpoint, i dont think so, but who knows, new trends/markets are continually evolving.

I am not vegan right now, but I used to be, and finding adequate leather replacement was not an issue. Plenty of major brands offer non-leather options. Very few shoes would be fit for hardcore vegans though, it’s not just leather, traces of animal products are used in vulcanizing rubber (as a component in vulcanization accelerators, I believe, I might be wrong though)

For cold weather,I either buy high quality leather boots, after doing research ( less toxic tanning, not patent leather, made in EU/USA ( stricter regulations), can be repaired easily) and wear them for very long time, fixing/replacing worn out parts to prolong the lifetime or buy second hand. Leather wears well, and is “greener”. I have never been opposed to using animal products, I was vegan because of sustainability issues, I believe people should use less animal products overall.

For warmer weather, there are a lot of canvas shoes available. I wear mostly Keep (actually vegan, using latex rubber for soles) and Puma. You really don’t have to go the fake plastic leather route.

Zappos has a vegan section…

For the “greeness” of being vegan it’ not just a question of synthetic vs natural leather. One has to take the whole lifestyle into account. The energy and resources that goes into meat production is substantial. So it is not just an energy for producing synthetic leather vs “leather that we already have” calculation.

In my opinion the vegan life style makes more sense when seen from an environmental stand point, but still I eat meat… hm.

Just to throw something into the mix:

A lot of leather is the by-product of the meat industry. People are going to eat meat.

Is it not more environmentally sound to use the by-product than make it a waste product? Does it not give the animal’s death a bigger purpose?

Yes it is, but not all leather is ethical like that.

Have you ever seen aborted calf leather? It is what it is…deliberately aborted foetus leather, very soft, very thin.

Also some hides come from countries where the meat is not eaten, such as parts of India.

Sometimes meat is the by-product. I’m thinking of Spain, kid chops are a popular menu item in Elche and Elda (centre of womens fashion footwear trade), but that’s because kid is used to make shoes.

Blimey I didn’t know about the calf stuff. Do you know a good supplier?

Can’t wait to mention the aborted fetus comfort story in my next material selection meeting. :smiling_imp:

The India thing is interesting. My friend told me that only workers of a certain religion would work with the cow leather becasue some believe the cow is holy. I think it’s difficult to get pig skin out there too and goat / hair sheep is more popular for the thinner lining stuff?

All in all leather can be a pretty grim business.

Also, next time you buy Chorizo watch out for the average donkey meat content :open_mouth:

So has anyone ever studied the differences with natural vs. synthetic on environmental impact?

man i dont care how much donkey is in the chorizo i buy… im not giving it up. :slight_smile:

i had never heard such a thing though, but i get mine at the supermarket, not sure if that type of thing is more likely there from a national chorizo brand or from local suppliers.

The donkey thing wouldn’t surprise me - in the UK I have seen quite a bit of horse leather used for certain footwear products but the customer never finds out.